{ Co-designed and fisher-driven ICTs towards transformation of small-scale fisheries governance, ‘from hook to cook}

The ABALOBI initiative is an open, transdisciplinary and social learning endeavour, bringing together various stakeholders, with traditional fishers taking centre stage. ABALOBI, as a mobile app suite and programme, is aimed at social justice and poverty alleviation in the small-scale fisheries chain, transformation in the way we produce knowledge, stewardship of our marine resources, and resilience building in the face of climate change.

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Many of our team members, including the small-scale fishers of South Africa, were integrally involved in the design of South Africa’s new Small-Scale Fisheries Policy, which emanated from a Constitutional Court Order and international human and fishing rights obligations. ABALOBI brings us together as an extension of our research, advocacy and policy work, and launches us into implementation and co-operative governance.
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{ Working towards good governance and embracing a human-rights-based approach to fisheries: Through the development of an integrated small-scale fisheries information management system and mobile app suite, the ABALOBI initiative aims to enable small-scale fishing communities to be incorporated into information and resource networks: from fishery monitoring and maritime safety, to local development and market opportunities }

ABALOBI, isiXhosa for small-scale fisher, is the name given to the app suite by small-scale fisherfolk involved in the co-development process


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    Promoting stewardship

    Fishers encouraged to serve as custodians and promote sustainability. Allows opportunity for integration with conservation efforts.

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    Empowerment in the value chain

    Working towards community-supported fisheries and traceable slowfish. Empowerment through market information and collective action.

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    Co-operative fisheries governance

    Using a common knowledge base, based on fishers’ daily data, all stakeholders at the co-management table are poised equally.

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    Ecosystems approach to fisheries

    Decisions by fishers and other stakeholders can be based on ecological and social indicators.

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    Climate change adaptation

    Improved safety at sea and resilience building in the face of climate change.

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    Enabling tool for policy implementation

    Small-Scale Fisheries Policy (South Africa) and UN-FAO Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries (International)

{ What started as a participatory action research project with a strong community development interface, has evolved into a social enterprise that is now being registered as a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) and public benefit entity to better serve its fisher-driven mission }

Transdisciplinary research

Stakeholders work together in framing the problem and research needs, leading to the co-design of the tool based on input and tests in real-life contexts.

Co-design and fisher-driven process

Ensures data ownership and trust. Practical development and implementation within a bottom-up, participatory framework. Focus on product, process and enabling policy.

Open source & free for small-scale fishers

Leveraging the latest tech and open source platforms. Sharing innovations globally.

Recognition of fishers’ knowledge

Bridging local knowledge with science and policy. Developing knowledge for co-management.

ICT4D for small-scale fisheries: The ABALOBI initiative is about catalysing real transformation, of knowledge generation, of people, and of resource governance


The ABALOBI app suite comprises five inter-connected apps – conceptualised in a co-design process and currently in various stages of development and testing. The five apps cover the full spectrum of stakeholders in the small-scale fisheries sector from hook to cook, governance and beyond. Learn more …


The foundation of the app suite where fishers co–produce knowledge. Personal logbook with sharing options. Safety-at-sea integrations. More ...


Digitised community catch monitoring at the landing site & along the shoreline. More ...


Real-time fishery data & communications for co-management. More ...


Co-operative member & fleet management. Collective & transparent accounting. Catch value-adding. More ...


Fish with an ecological & social ‘story‘. Towards community-supported fisheries. Empowerment in the value chain. More ...

International reach

Beyond South Africa: An open source approach to the development of the ABALOBI platform seeks to allow customisation and use by small-scale fisheries stakeholders worldwide, aligned with the implementation of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation’s (FAO’s) Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries.


Aligned with the United Nations SDGs


Founding partners


Get involved

We are seeking to expand our partnerships and procure additional funding for the continued development of ABALOBI. We welcome expressions of interest from prospective funders and research, technology & implementation partners ...

In the news


ABALOBI shared TEDxCapeTown's post. ... See MoreSee Less

Last night our TEDxCapeTownSalon event gave us insight into some actionable solutions people are wor...

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WHO fishes matters || "A co-design approach, and co-ownership model has stimulated a grassroots movement of fishers claiming their fishing rights – their human rights – and showing that they too have a strong voice in science and conservation. We are seeing a big data movement in small-scale fisheries.

What if chefs, retailers, consumers like you and me could access storied and traceable seafood, powered by modern but community-owned technology, that also produces the data we need for fisheries management and the rebuilding of our fisheries, on a solid foundation of deep local ecological knowledge and partnerships? ...

Next time you order or buy seafood, ask yourself what it is, where, when and how it was caught, but also who caught it ... as WHO caught it matters."

ABALOBI co-founder & MD Serge Raemaekers presented his idea for change at yesterday's TEDx Cape Town 'Save Our Oceans' series at the Volvo Ocean Race. We'll share the full talk soon!

Photo creds: TEDxCapeTown & Moving Sushi

#TEDxCT #TEDxCapeTownSalon #IdeasWorthSpreading
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ABALOBI shared TEDxCapeTown's post. ... See MoreSee Less

#TEDxCapeTownSalon Speaker, Dr. Serge Raemaekers, is the Co-founder and Project Director of ABALOBI,...

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Have a burning question for us? Scuttle over to #TEDx #TEDxCapeTownSalon on 8 December where co-founder Serge Raemaekers will be talking all things #ICT4Fisheries, #smallscalefisheries and data meets local ecological knowledge. Event details in link below 👉 ... See MoreSee Less


December 6, 2017, 6:30pm - December 8, 2017, 8:00pm

An intimate setting (80ppl) for you and others who are passionate about our oceans, sustainability a...

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Fish with a social & ecological story | #fishwithastory

Where does your fish come from? Was it caught responsibly? Who caught it, and how? This infographic sums up our #ICT4Fisheries approach #fromhooktocook: for traceable, storied seafood by empowered #smallscalefishers ...

Five carefully co-designed apps piece together to form our #hooktocook system, which enables the processing and marketing of fish and other marine resources with an ecological & social ‘story’ in a manner that is fully traceable along the value chain. The goal? Empowerment in the value chain and the development of fisher-community-based eco- & social-labelling. These apps, part of the ABALOBI suite, form the retail channel of the process which allows fishers to supply local and global markets interested in sourcing seafood that is fair, credible and has a low environmental impact.

With an integrated mobile payment platform and accounting functionality, the system has the potential to maximise inter-operability with a multitude of other #fintech services and tools to facilitate accessible, transparent business development for small-scale fishers. A key value proposition is that this component allows fisher groups to valorise non-quota, less ‘mainstream’ species towards community- and restaurant-supported fisheries.

This week we showcased the system to our partners at WWF South Africa SASSI initiative and several early adapters, including restaurateurs in Cape Town who have expressed the desire to buy local, fresh, quality seafood that is not only ecologically responsible but socially fair. Supporting small-scale fishers, supporting local. ‘Local is lekker!’

#traceability #responsiblefish #fairfish #smallscalefisheries #fishwithastory #sustainabilty #proudlySouthAfrican #fintech #ICT4D #valuechain
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